Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: April 2017

Spring is here, and the oscillation between warmish, dry weather and cool, wet weather has me wanting fresh flavors and hot beverages, sometimes in the same meal. As the month unfolds, there will be opportunities to picnic outdoors; take-out at one of C-U’s fantastic parks is always lovely. The blooms and buds of spring make for a pretty backdrop to early morning coffee and doughnuts.

April is also a time when I find myself needing a bit of a break from the monotonous; a change of scenery is often a much-appreciated means to propel forward toward the semester’s end. The return of Sleepy Creek Vineyards’ Wieners and Wines is a nice way to get out of C-U  for a few hours on the cheap. Urbana’s Food Truck Rally series picks up again at the end of the month, and like next month’s farmers’ markets, is one of those things that underscores the inevitability of warmer weather and quieter twin cities.

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Café Miel | Common Ground Food Co-op

I ordered this beverage on a whim, and I am so pleased that I did. It’s delicious. I’m generally more or less indifferent to hot caffeinated beverages (Is it hot? Does it have caffeine?), but the combination of espresso, local honey, steamed milk and cinnamon? It’s perfect. It has just a hint of sweetness and some warm, earthy cinnamon. You can, of course, choose your own milk, but if you’re getting cow milk, don’t skimp on the fat. Get 2% or whole for the best rich and creamy texture. (12oz, $4; 16oz, $5)

Common Ground Food Co-op is located at 300 South Broadway, Urbana (at Lincoln Square Mall). The café is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Photo by Jessica Hammie.

Sushi | Sushi Kame

On warmer days in the spring, it’s nice to eat cold foods with fresh, bright, clean flavors. The sushi at Sushi Kame meets those standards, and is really quite tasty. Not into fish, but still into the idea of sushi? No worries; you can order some vegetable-based sushi. There are other options on the menu for those of who are seafood-adverse and interested in hot food, too. With Ebertfest on the horizon, consider adding Sushi Kame to your list of potential lunch or dinner spots. Make a reservation, first!

Sushi Kame is located at 132 West Church Street, Champaign, and open Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday noon to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie. 

Carrot cake doughnuts | Pandamonium Doughnuts

I am late to the carrot cake game, much to my lamentation. It’s just not one of those things that I sought out in my youth, but now, as a more mature, sophisticated eater, I am open to eating vegetables in my desserts. Pandamonium’s April special is the carrot cake doughnut, “a spiced cake-style doughnut made with organic carrots and topped with cream cheese icing, chopped walnuts and carrots.” Pandamonium’s doughnuts are delicious, and you can feel good about feeding yourself (or your kids) veggies for breakfast.

To find out where the food truck will be this month, follow it on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Pandamonium Doughnuts. 

Wieners and Wine | Sleepy Creek Vineyards

Sleepy Creek is a just a short ride east of C-U, and in nice weather the grounds are really quite lovely. The vineyard is under new ownership, and it’s nice to see that the new owners are keeping up with Wieners and Wine, one of the best-named food events I’ve encountered. Every Friday from April through October, Sleepy Creek invites the public to a bonfire/hot dog roast, free of charge. You show up and purchase a glass of wine (or wine slushie), and they provide the hot dogs, toppings, and the fire over which you can roast your meat. Bring a friend, drink responsibly.

Wieners and Wine is 5 to 8 p.m. every Friday through October. For more info, check out Sleepy Creek’s website

Sleepy Creek Vineyards is located at 8254 East 1425 North Road, Fairmount. Here are the best directions

Photo from Facebook. 

Food truck food | Urbana Food Truck Rally

The City of Urbana’s Food Truck Rally is now in year three or four (I’ve lost count), and it’s been quite the success. Who doesn’t want one-stop shopping for lunchtime food truck deliciousness? The event is always the last Tuesday of the month from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., rain or shine. Outdoor and indoor seating are available (inside the Urbana Civic Center). The food truck line-up changes each month, and the City does a good job of updating the Facebook event page with information as it becomes available. This month’s lineup includes Caribbean Grill, Piato Cafe, Fusilli Tony’s, Dragon Fire Pizza, Chester’s BBQ, and the Snack Shack. Mark your calendar for lunch in Urbana on Tuesday, April 25th.

For more information about Urbana’s Food Truck Rally, check out the Facebook event page. Looks at previous years’ events, are here and here.

Photo by Jessica Hammie. 

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